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Subway expansion west to be studied

Councillor advocates East Mall-Dundas station

Sep. 14, 2006

Etobicoke York Community councillors have given the green light to city staff to investigate whether a new subway station in the area of The East Mall and Dundas Street West should be built.

With little debate, councillors approved a motion Wednesday by Ward 5 Councillor Peter Milczyn (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) asking city staff to cost out an update of an environmental assessment (EA), as well as an estimate of the land required to extend the Bloor-Danforth subway line west beyond Kipling Station.

Milczyn said the reports from the city’s chief planner and the TTC would likely come before the Toronto Council’s planning and transportation committee in January, in time to be included in the city’s 2007 capital budget.

The subway extension makes sense, Milczyn said. Presently, city officials are working on moving the regional bus terminal from Islington subway to Kipling subway.

“That will happen maybe in four or five years at a cost of about $45 million,” Milczyn said yesterday in an interview. “Rather than spend that money, the optimum solution would be to pursue a glimmer of hope we could rationalize doing a subway (at a cost of about $145 million) to The East Mall at the very least.”

Land for a subway extension is being offered, free-of-charge, by the landowner of Honeydale Mall, Milczyn said.

That landowner submitted an Official Plan amendment and rezoning application in March 2005 to the city to redevelop the property with 2,400 residential units, retail, commercial and office uses.

The landowner has since filed an appeal with the Ontario Municipal Board citing council’s inaction on the application.

Milczyn said he remains opposed to the application.

“The densities they’re seeking are totally excessive, and they’re conceptual plans. It’s not buildable,” he said.

Meanwhile, Toronto Council recently declared the Islington subway station property surplus. While TTC facilities will remain, the city is in negotiation with SNC-Lavalin to buy the property.

SNC-Lavalin wants to build its new approximately 350,000-square foot headquarters on the site.

The city’s purchase last year of the legion hall just west of Islington subway on Bloor Street West means new consolidated city of Toronto employee offices could still be built there in future, Milczyn said. The entire parcel of land is zoned for approximately 1.1 million square feet of office space, he added.

Still, any new development at Honeydale Mall is still five, even 10 years off, Milczyn said.

“Nothing is going to happen there for a minimum of five years,” he said. “These are property owners, not developers. When they try to sell the land to a developer, it could be 10 years.”